African economic growth Steve Jordan/Stringer

非洲仍在崛起吗?

华盛顿—从2000年到2014年,非洲实现了强劲增长,这带来了一种“非洲崛起”的信念。但2015年后,整个撒哈拉以南非洲地区的增长有所放缓,而大宗商品价格的悲观前景也让人们开始质疑非洲的经济前途,许多人开始怀疑“非洲崛起”叙事——更有人宣布非洲崛起的概念已死。

从某种程度上说,这样的怀疑不难理解。2014年石油价格冲击给一些非洲经济体造成了非常严重的影响,也让总体增长率从2004—2014年间的5—6%下降到2015—2017年的2.5%——这一增长率还赶不上人口增长率。

此外,非洲的三个最大经济体——安哥拉、尼日利亚和南非,表现都出现了大幅下滑。去年,安哥拉和南非经济出现停滞,而尼日利亚出现了1991年以来的首次实际萎缩。最新预测表明,这些经济体未来几年的复苏也将非常缓慢。

但非洲怀疑派忽视了许多重要因素。首先,如果你剔除掉三个最大的经济体,那么今年撒哈拉以南非洲总体增长率就能从2.5%增加到近4%。这一数字高于当前全球经济增长率3.5%。事实上,全世界十个增长最快的经济体中,有五个来自非洲。而在未来五年中,大约一半的撒哈拉以南经济体将实现不亚于“非洲崛起”顶峰时期的平均增长率。

此外,高企的大宗商品价格只是2000—2014年间该地区经济表现强劲的一个因素。许多非洲国家在宏观经济管理、治理和营商环境方面取得了巨大进步,企业家精神也在蓬勃发展。即使大宗商品价格有所下跌,这些发展趋势仍能够支撑许多非洲经济体。

今天的怀疑论也许体现了对黑暗时代的记忆,以及对非洲的进步没有得到充分巩固的担忧。从20世纪70年代到90年代中期,许多非洲国家由独裁者统治,维持强劲经济增长所需要的制度十分脆弱。内战不断地摧残着许多国家的社会结构,几十年来,整个非洲经济增长十分缓慢。到2000年,非洲已经沦为《经济学人》(The Economist)所谓的“没有希望的非洲”。

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但这些都是老黄历了。非洲决策者保持着20世纪90年代的改革,为后续高速增长打下了基础。尽管还有很多工作有待完成,但许多非洲国家的经济和营商环境持续改善,制度和治理也变得更加强大。

拜新信息和通讯技术所赐,非洲人,特别是非洲年轻人,对信息了解得更多,也更积极地参与民间和政治事务,越来越具备问责领导人的能力。信息和通讯技术还在非洲释放出一股创新和企业家精神的浪潮。

这些积极的趋势很难逆转,将继续改善非洲的经济环境,即使大宗商品价格无法反弹。毕竟,2000—2004年间,大宗商品价格的迅速上涨尚未开始,非洲地区的平均增长率仍高达5.6%。

但这并不是说非洲能够在未来多年里不必面临艰巨挑战。放眼全球,经济环境对非洲经济体更加不利了。在主要发达经济体,利率很快就会上升,而针对全球化的政治反对力量可能迫使政府放弃过去许下的发展援助承诺。

面临所有这些不确定性,非洲决策者应该向内看,专注于动员国家资源和经济日程融资政策。这些日程应该包括一系列关键性重点。非洲国家需要实现经济多样化,以更好地抵御未来冲击,同时,整个非洲还需要加快工业化步伐。政府必须找到办法为每年加入劳动力大军的1,100万非洲人创造体面的工作。它们还需要采取措施减少贫困,确保繁荣被全体社会所共享。

对安哥拉、尼日利亚和南非来说,这些目标尤其重要。安哥拉和尼日利亚需要大幅降低对石油的依赖;南非仍然需要实施重大改革措施以解决自种族隔离时代以来困扰它的结构性问题。真心实意地推行这些工程需要有能力的领导人坚守好治理原则。失败可能导致长期低增长。

但即使非洲最大的三个经济体最终陷入萧条,“非洲崛起”的故事也未必可以全盘否定。毕竟,“非洲崛起”不必是“全部”非洲的崛起。从20世纪60年代到90年代,“亚洲小龙”叙事也仅限于香港、新加坡、韩国和台湾,中国在内的其他亚洲发展中经济体都不在其列。类似地,非洲各经济体本身之间的差异日益扩大,因此,应该根据各自的经济政策的利弊,对它们进行单独的评估。

http://prosyn.org/ZIdlXxW/zh;

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